You’ve probably heard that the Department of Justice, having arrested all the terrorists and drug traffickers, finally turned its mighty eye to the grave national security threat that is college admissions. Various Hollywood types, including Aunt Becky, joined assorted CEOs and other rich douchebags in bribing their kids’ way into elite colleges.
Mmmmmm….. Aunt Becky. Yes, I’ll wait. Has everybody gotten that out of their systems? Ok, proceeding:
To Normals, the idea of paying a third-party facilitator to bribe your kids into college is so dumb, it makes anti-sense. Surely rich guys know how college admissions work? You don’t take “the Hubert J. Buttpimple Memorial Thru-Hole” to get to the library because ol’ Hubert was some kind of outstanding alumnus. It has his name on it because his kid was dumber than a box of rocks, and the college wouldn’t touch Junior unless Daddy ponied up the cash. Since “donations to the general scholarship fund” are too obvious even for this age of idiocracy, you “donate” a park bench or something, and everyone pretends to believe that park bench is really worth $1.2 million.
In the same vein, Normals understand that elite colleges collect famous people as zealously, and with as much regard for academic excellence, as they do Diversity Pokemon. Surely no one believes that a guy like James Franco — the star of Your Highness and the writer of the Tori Spelling classic Mother May I Sleep With Danger? — got into Columbia because of his IQ? This is the guy, you’ll recall, who — though a rich, famous, and handsome movie star — begs random not-quite-18 year olds for hookups via text message. It’s well understood by all parties that admitting him is a marketing move.
In other words, we Normals think, if you’re Lori Loughlin and you want your kid to go to Ivy League Tech, you simply call up the Dean of Admissions and do lunch, where over free-range arugula he’ll tell you that the college could really use a few new chairs for the cafeteria…. or that the theater department could really use an Aunt Becky Chair in Applied Aromatherapy, depending on just how bad the kid’s SAT scores really are. There’s no need to fly in a “test proctor” from Tampa, or photoshop your kid punting a football, or any of the other idiotic shit the “Key Worldwide Foundation” (what, was “Acme Import/Export” taken?) actually did.
Now, part of this is just the ever-accelerating Third-Worldification of the United States. Every crapsack nation on Earth has its prestige university, where all the children of the elite go. But since it’s, you know, the Third World, the elite’s kids don’t actually have to go there; they’re set for life no matter what they do. So the school maintains its elite rep by charging out the wazoo for hustlers to buy their kids places there. It’s a time-honored system, going all the way back to medieval Europe (and colonial America too, of course). So long as nobody actually believes the hype — that a kid with a diploma from Ivy League Tech is a certified genius because he’s got a diploma from Ivy League Tech — the system works.
Alas, we believe the hype, because the United States of America is now Autism Spectrum Nation.
No one who matters in modern America has a clue how social interactions work. The reason Lori can’t simply do lunch with the Dean is because neither of them could figure out how to handle it. The Dean knows he can’t come right out and say “five hundred large and the kid’s in”… but he also knows that Lori can’t process a subtle hint like “we’d love to help you, Mx. Laughlin, but alas, the last $500,000 in the discretionary fund is earmarked for parking lot resurfacing.” For her part, Lori can’t straight-up offer the Dean a bribe, because the whole point of pretending to attend Ivy League Tech is pretending an Ivy League Tech degree means something. And since the Dean’s on the spectrum, too — it’s an inevitable effect of life in academia — she knows she can’t offer to write a check to the parking lot resurfacing fund, wink wink, because the Dean thinks “nonverbal subcommunication” is some class in the English department. He’ll pocket the check and walk.
This is why almost all the shenanigans are routed through the schools’ athletics programs. Coaches know how to play ball metaphorically, too — it’s quite likely that they’re the only ones on campus who do.
The rest of America has been living out a kind of sorites paradox since at least the late 1960s. A sorites paradox happens because language isn’t math, so we end up trying to quantify the unquantifiable. What is the exact number of grains of sand you need to a make a heap of sand?
I’m deadly serious about this. It matters, because that’s exactly the type of question that has driven American cultural life for five decades now. How much “Diversity,” for instance, is “our Strength?” I’d better goddamn well know, down to the exact number of Vibrants physically present at any given time, or I lose my job and we all get sued into the poorhouse.
But since that’s impossible to know, what happens in practice is the sorities paradoxification of pretty much everything. Just to stick with a theme, everyone in academia, K-thru-PhD, knows the Prime Directive: Do NOT fail the Blacks. But because the Blacks fail — a lot — on any objective measure, we can’t have objective measures….
….except we must have objective measures, for how else are we to be sure No Child is Left Behind? We can’t just hand everyone an A, because how else are the SWPL strivers out in the suburbs going to brag about how much money they spent on little Snowflake’s tutoring and enrichment programs? But we can’t hand out anything less than an A, either, because there’s a chance someone with the wrong skin tone might get one. You have to have a completely objective measure that is also utterly meaningless, and that’s why the “works cited” page on your term paper is worth 75% of the grade.
Only what’s in the gradebook is real… but it’s also completely imaginary. Yet you must believe it, against all evidence of your own lying eyes, because if La’Quavious didn’t earn his A, then how can you know you’ve earned yours? Apply that shit all the way down the line, to every aspect of life — how else can it end, but in a raging case of Asperger’s?
That’s why the coaches are the point men on this stuff. They, and they alone, can operate in the desert of the real. The stopwatch and the scale don’t lie, and they’re allowed to cut anyone who doesn’t hit his benchmarks. Because they’re grounded — because they’re allowed to notice stuff — they can pick up on the social cues that make this kind of scam go. Everyone else is still living in Autism Spectrum Nation.Loading Likes...